Home > Health Library > Protecting Your Skin From the Sun
Most skin cancer can be prevented. Use the following tips to
protect your skin from the sun. You may decrease your chances of developing
skin cancer and help prevent wrinkles.
Although people with darker skin don't sunburn as easily, they can still get skin cancer. So it's important to use sun protection, no matter what your skin color is.
The best way to prevent a
sunburn is to avoid sun exposure.
Stay out of the midday sun (from
10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon), which is the strongest sunlight. Find
shade if you need to be outdoors. You can also calculate how much
ultraviolet (UV) exposure you are getting by using the
shadow rule: A shadow that is longer than you are means UV exposure is low; a
shadow that is shorter than you are means the UV exposure is high.
Other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing protective
clothing, such as:
start protecting your child from the sun when he or she is a baby. Because
children spend a lot of time outdoors playing, they get most of their lifetime
sun exposure in their first 18 years.
If you can't avoid being in
the sun, use a sunscreen to help protect your skin while you are in the
Be sure to read the information on the sunscreen label about its SPF value and how much protection it gives your skin. Follow the directions on the label for applying the sunscreen so it is most effective in protecting your skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Some sunscreens say they are water-resistant or
waterproof and can protect for about 40 minutes in the sun if a person is doing
a water activity.
The following tips about sunscreen will help you use it
Do not use tanning booths to get a tan. Artificial
tanning devices can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin
For information on sun exposure and vitamin D, see Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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